Audio released of teen killings following finding of guilt


by uniquetechnique

Byron Smith, 64, the Minnesota man who fatally shot two teens after they broke into his home, was found guilty on Tuesday of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of cousins Haile Kifer, 18, and Nick Brady, 17.

Audio clips have been heavily edited and compressed for time, and does not reflect actual timeframe of the shots. According to court transcripts, the space between the sequence of events and shots was much longer.

Prosecutors said Smith's plan was set in motion on the morning of the killings, after Smith saw a neighbor whom he believed responsible for prior burglaries drive by. Prosecutors say Smith moved his truck to make it look like no one was home, and then settled into a chair in his basement with a book, energy bars, a bottle of water and two guns. Smith also set up a hand-held recorder on a bookshelf, which captured audio of the shootings, and had installed a surveillance system that recorded images of Brady trying to enter the house. The audio, which was played several times in court, captured the sound of glass shattering, Brady descending the basement stairs and Smith shooting Brady three times. Smith can be heard saying, "You're dead."

Prosecutors said Smith put Brady's body on a tarp and dragged him into another room, then sat down, reloaded his weapon and waited. About 10 minutes later, Kifer came downstairs. More shots are heard on the recording, then Kifer's screams, with Smith saying, "You're dying." It's followed soon after by another gunshot, which investigators said Smith described as "a good, clean finishing shot." The teens were unarmed, but Smith's attorneys had said he feared they had a weapon. The tape continued to run, and Smith was heard referring to the teens as "vermin." Smith waited a full day before asking a neighbor to call police.

Smith claimed he shot in self-defense and was in fear for his life after several break-ins at his Little Falls home, but during closing statements Tuesday, a prosecutor said Smith intended to kill. A medical examiner found the two teens were shot a total of nine times after they broke into Smith's home on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. Prosecutors argued that Smith waited in his basement and intended to kill the teens, with a setup so elaborate that lead prosecutor Pete Orput compared it to a deer stand - with the teens as the deer.

The killings stirred debate in Little Falls - a town of 8,000 about 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis - and around the world over how far a homeowner may go in using deadly force. Minnesota law allows lethal force to prevent a felony from taking place in one's home or dwelling, but authorities have said Smith crossed a line when he continued to shoot the teens after they were no longer a threat.

Smith's attorney argued the teens would be alive if they hadn't chosen to commit a burglary, reports the station.

Smith showed no emotion when the sentence was read. He was immediately sentenced to life without parole. Defense attorney Steve Meshbesher said he would appeal.

Brady's grandmother, Bonnie Schaeffel, was among family members who addressed the court after the verdicts were given. "He seems a sour, angry old recluse who felt he was above the law," Schaeffel said. "He chose to be cop, judge, jury and executioner." 

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BarkLikeADog site profile image  

5/5/14 10:09 AM by BarkLikeADog

Also I think sleep deprivation falls under diminished capacity not insanity but it's not my area.

BarkLikeADog site profile image  

5/5/14 10:08 AM by BarkLikeADog

"If he was just a cold blooded murderer, I would think that he would've gone to heat lengths to hide what happened and disposes of the bodies."I think it's pretty apparent he didn't believe he was a murderer, cold-blooded or otherwise. That doesn't have any bearing on him actually being one.I don't know enough about the trial to speculate on whether they would have considered that, but I guess it's worth pointing out that insanity pleas are extremely difficult to win & are hardly a guarantee of freedom; you generally only see them in death penalty cases as a result.IIRC, insanity plea also means that you are admitting guilt to the crime; you can't fall back on self defense if the plea fails.

Vulva Fabulous site profile image  

5/5/14 9:46 AM by Vulva Fabulous

Now, please don't read too much into this. This isn't my opinion on the matter, it's more of a question I have concerning on how the defense used self defense as their argument. After reading the news article posted earlier, I'm surprised the didn't try for a temporary insanity plea instead. If it's true that he didn't sleep for 4 months after being robbed 11x and according to his neighbor afraid for his life, the lack of sleep could drive somebody legitimately insane. I'm trying to think logically here. He had a squeaky clean record prior to this. He actually hired these kids a the year before to do odd jobs on his property and in his house, so it's not as if he hated kids. He Trusted them to the point that he would leave them alone. However, he decided not to hire them this year (well 2012) because they caused damage to his property and things went missing. After he declined their services, the robberies started. So let's throw the grumpy old "get of land" type of person to the side. The recordings weren't for his self satisfaction, they were part of the home security he installed, he erased everything the next day. If he was just a cold blooded murderer, I would think that he would've gone to heat lengths to hide what happened and disposes of the bodies. Who would've known right away that those kids were gone, especially where they went. I'm sure if they told others that they went to rob him, they possibly stayed quiet for at least week, fearing prison for knowing the crime before the fact. Based on the legitimate fear of his own life he expressed to his neighbor before the event happened, lack of sleep for 4 months, and then not going out of his way to dispose of the bodies somewhere that nobody would look, at least not look for quite some time to cover his ass shows that there was type of temporary insanity. On top of it all, he did call the police, albeit 24hrs later, I think the defense could've made a better argument in this case. I'm not saying the kids deserved to die, but entering another person's home is a no no and they are responsible for their mistakes. On the other hand, he seemed jubilant after to kill, I would argue it Now been an adrenaline rush then dump in his voice. I think the audio the jury heard, probably many of them with kids of their own, is the reason that he's in jail for life. My opinion is I wish none of this happened, but I'm wondering if the lawyers attempted or brought this up, but if not, would it have helped his case or same sentence.

Tomato Can site profile image  

5/5/14 12:03 AM by Tomato Can

The whole reason he's guilty is because it was NOT in the heat of the moment. For fuck's sake he calmly walked up to the girl, put the gun under her chin, and pulled the trigger. In what way can you possibly consider that "the heat of the moment".

WendyIDMT site profile image  

5/4/14 11:20 PM by WendyIDMT

Perfect. Short, sweet and to the point. Thank you for the brevity and a mud name VU for you.

Jacinto site profile image  

5/4/14 10:57 PM by Jacinto

The old man acted in self-defense when he shot them but he definitely went too far though and deserved prison. People saying that the teens were simply thieves and only would have stole though how can you be so sure? There were a couple of local teens in my area about 10 years ago that broke into an elderly man's house to steal his prescription medications and were surprised to find him at home at the time. They then beat and stabbed him to death. Had the old man not been armed that boy could have well flipped out and done the same thing to him.

arnanderson site profile image  

5/4/14 10:36 PM by arnanderson

Lot of internet tough guys on here. And by tough guys, I mean pussies who wouldn't have the balls to execute someone laying on their floor. LMAO

Hate420 site profile image  

5/4/14 10:12 PM by Hate420

Winner. I don't care what he said in the heat of the moment. He was the victim here and now he's in jail. He didn't go out looking for these kids and murder them, they came to him.

Proteus The Invincible site profile image  

5/4/14 9:52 PM by Proteus The Invincible

Fair point, but I think Smith's trap in conjunction with his obvious intent to kill further proves that his scheme was designed for murder, making the trap significant.

BarkLikeADog site profile image  

5/4/14 9:26 PM by BarkLikeADog

Goal post moving: How does it work?